Long Cecil of the Anglo-Boer War
Long Cecil is a one-of-a-kind breech loading cannon, which was built during the Second Anglo Boer War by an American Engineer, George Labram during the Siege of Kimberley.
During the Siege of Kimberley, the Boer forces prevented anybody from entering of leaving Kimberley.
Cecil John Rhodes, a former governor of the Cape Colony, who was forced to resign because of his involvement in the failed Jameson Raid of Johannesburg - the cause of the First Anglo Boer War - was trapped in Kimberley during the siege.
George Labram then worked for the De Beers Diamond Company.
After studying cannon plans in the local library, Labram became convinced that he could build a cannon. Fortunately they had a billet of steel available for use on the mining equipment, from which the eventually machined the barrel. They had to manufacture the tools for cutting the rifling inside the barrel. Also the ammunition had to be specially manufactured in Kimberley, which they did.
The cannon was named for Cecil John Rhodes - hence the name "Long Cecil". It had a longer range than any cannon of the same caliber of its day.
The firing of Long Cecil came as a surprise to the Boers, who had to withdraw their commandoes to get out of Long Cecil's range.
The Boers answer was to bring one of their four Creusot cannon to Kimberley in answer to the bombardment of Long Cecil. These cannon were nicknamed "Long Toms" by the British. However, the muzzle of this particular Long Tom was damaged during the Siege of Lady Smith, after which the cannon was taken back to Pretoria for repairs. The repairs consisted of cutting the damaged piece of muzzle off, after which the Boers called the cannon "the Jew" (as it has been circumcised!), while the British referred to it as the "Short Tom".
When the Boers fired their last shot with the Jew, the shot hit the hotel room in which George Labram was busy shaving in preparation to have dinner with Cecil John Rhodes. Labram was killed in the incident.
George Labram leaning on Long Cecil
SOUTH AFRICAN CANNON ASSOCIATION